Union Minister Pralhad Joshi has expressed concern that the second wave of COVID-19 is more serious and devastating and is spreading at a faster rate than the first. “However, the Union and State governments have geared up to face the challenge and they will improve infrastructure on a war-footing. Hopefully, the curve will flatten shortly,” he said.
He was speaking to journalists after inspecting medical facilities and oxygen stock at the Civil Hospital in Dharwad on Sunday. As of now, there are 1,300 beds available in private and government hospitals in Hubballi-Dharwad. The government plans to create 1,000 additional beds, he said.
“I have spoken to Dharmasthala Dharmadhikari and head of SDM Hospitals Veerendra Heggade asking him to reserve more beds for COVID-19 cases. He has agreed. SDM Director Niranjan Kumar has assured us of reserving 500 beds with oxygen facilities at the SDM Hospital at Sattur in Dharwad. I have also appealed to them to treat patients at government fixed prices,” he said.
He urged other private hospitals to reserve some of their beds for pandemic patients.
He said that there was no shortage of Remdesivir injections, oxygen supply or ventilators in the district. “We have 150 ventilators ready here and oxygen is being continuously supplied from Karnatak Industrial Gas unit at Sattur and also from Jindal Steel plant in Ballari. I have spoken to Jindal company officers who have assured us of supplying oxygen across the State. Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar has also spoken to them,” he said.
The Centre has sent 800 tonnes of oxygen and 1.22 lakh doses of Remdesivir. They reached Bengaluru on Saturday. Custom duty on life saving drugs and oxygen has been waived by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for six months, he added.
Oxygen tanks and even plants are being air-lifted from Singapore and Germany. Indian Railways is running Oxygen Express trains to places with high prevalence rates, Mr. Joshi said.
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